Poached Figs in Puff Pastry
Our garden is very abundant with figs this season. I gathered a full basket of large brown Turkey figs; they're re fairly wide and about 3 inches long. I love their flavor; they have a copper-colored skin, pinkish pulp and very few seeds. They are simply delicious and perfect for baking.
I poached them first in heavy syrup and wrapped them in puff pastry. It's a pretty easy dessert to make but sure to wow your guests.
Yields: 88 fresh figs
7 (5 x 5-inch) squares puff pastry dough (store-bought), thawed
3 cardamom pods, crushed
1 (1-inch) chunk fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons raw honey
2 tablespoons fig jam (or any other jam or jelly)
1 cup lingonberry juice
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 teaspoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon imitation Brandy extract
For the vanilla bean: Using a paring knife, scrape and gather all the grains of the vanilla bean.
Poaching syrup: In a deep saucepan, combine the water, clove, lingonberry juice, cardamom, ginger, vanilla grains and sugar. Bring to a boil.
Poaching the figs: Into the poaching sauce, add the whole figs, honey and fig jam. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the figs cool completely in the syrup. Remove and pat dry. Set aside.
Thickened fig sauce: Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve. Boil it over medium heat until it's reduced to 1 cup. It should have a syrupy consistency, almost like maple syrup.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Figs in puff pastry: Cut thin 1/4-inch strips of puff pastry dough using a fluted pastry wheel. Wrap the figs with the strips of puff pastry all around the fruit. Make sure to press each strip a little and wrap them tightly. Repeat the same procedure with the remaining figs.
For the egg wash: Beat the egg with milk using a fork. Lightly brush the egg wash over the puff pastry dough. Make sure to coat the entire outer surface.
Baking the figs: Place a silicon mat or a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Place the wrapped figs onto the silicon mat. Bake for 12 minutes at 400°F, then lower the temperature to 375°F and bake for another 7-10 minutes until the puff pastry is puffed and flaky.
For the brandied crème fraîche sauce: In a bowl, whisk the crème fraîche, heavy cream, powdered sugar and brandy extract. Pour the mixture into a plastic squeeze bottle. Set aside.
Assembly time: When you're ready to serve, ladle a layer of thickened poaching fig syrup onto 8 dessert plates. Using the squeeze bottle, create a spiral of brandied crème fraîche sauce in the syrup. Immediately swirl the filling in a pretty design using a toothpick. Place the pastry-wrapped fig in puff pastry in the center of the plate.
Serve at room temperature.
You can skip the step with the egg wash for anyone with an egg allergy and brush the pastry with only milk. The egg wash gives a finished golden, glazed look and shine to the pastry. It also helps the outer surface seal and the strips of pastry dough stick together.
I bought lingonberry juice at Ikea, but you can use any other juice you like. You might want to lower the quantity of sugar depending of the acidity of the juice.
After scraping the grains of vanilla, do NOT discard the remaining vanilla bean. Just place the vanilla bean in a jar and cover it with regular granulated sugar. Let it sit for a few weeks and you'll get a nice, fragrant vanilla sugar.
If you don't have a vanilla bean, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
I made 8 small leaves with the remaining puff pastry dough for a finishing touch. Don't forget to create deep veins on the leaf using a paring knife. Just glue the leaves onto the fig in puff pastry, using the remaining egg wash.
Published By: on September 18, 2009.